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ONTARIO ATTORNEY GENERAL LAW L BRARY 


0006716 





















































MINISTRY OF THE 
ATTORNEY GENERAL 

LAW LIBRARY 


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Ministry of ihe Attorney General ©May.2000 (Updated Octobs. 
Ce document est aussi disponible en francais. 

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Table of Contents 


1. Definition of Domestic Violence 

2. Summary of the Victims' Bill of Rights 

3. Vision 

4. The Domestic Court Program 

5. Implementation 

A. Flow Chart 


6. Roles of Justice Stakeholders 

A. Domestic Violence Court Advisory Committee (DVCAC) 

B. Crown Attorney 

C. Victim/Witness Assistance Program 

D. Court Services 

E. Police 

F. Partner Assault Response Programs 

G. Interpreter Services 

H. Probation and Parole Services 


7. Resources 

A. Sample Terms of Reference for Domestic Violence Court 
Advisory Committee 

B. French Language Services 

C. Hospital-Based Domestic Violence Pilot Program 

D. Victim Support Line Fact Sheet 

8. Questions and Answers 

9. News Releases and Fact Sheets 

10. Contacts 


i 



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A Common Definition of Domestic Violence 
for the Domestic Violence Court Program 


Domestic violence is any use of physical or sexual force, actual or threatened, 
in an intimate relationship. Intimate relationships include those between the 
opposite-sex and same-sex partners. These relationships vary in duration and 
legal formality, and include current and former dating, common-law and 
married couples. 

Although both women and men can be victims of domestic violence, the 
overwhelming majority of this violence involves men abusing women. 

These crimes are often committed in a context where there is a pattern of 
assaultive and controlling behaviour. This violence may include physical 
assault, and emotional, psychological and sexual abuse. It can include threats 
to harm children, other family members, pets and property. The violence is 
used to intimidate, humiliate or frighten victims, or to make them powerless. 
Domestic violence may include a single act of abuse. It may also include a 
number of acts which may appear minor or trivial when viewed in isolation, 
but collectively form a pattern that amounts to abuse. 

Criminal Code offences include, but are not limited to homicide, assault, 
sexual assault, threatening death or bodily harm, forcible confinement, 
harassment/stalking, abduction, breaches of court orders and property-related 
offences. 


"Working Towards a Seamless Community and Justice Response to Domestic Violence: 
A Five-Year Plan for Ontario" — Joint Committee on Domestic Violence, August 1999 





































Summary of the Victims' Bill of Rights 

In Ontario, an Act Respecting Victims of Crime (also known as the Victims' Bill of 

Rights ) was proclaimed on June 11, 1996. The Act supports and recognizes the 

needs and rights of victims of crime in both the criminal and civil justice system. 

The key elements of the Victims' Bill of Rights are: 

■ A set of principles setting out how victims should be treated by officials at 
different stages of the criminal justice process. The statement of principles 
specifies that victims should: 

- Be treated with courtesy, compassion and respect for their personal dignity 
and privacy. 

- Have access to information concerning services and remedies available to 
victims; be informed about the progress of criminal investigations and 
prosecutions and the sentencing and interim release of offenders from 
custody, including release on parole, temporary absence, or escape from 
custody. 

- Be given the opportunity to be interviewed by police officers and officials 
of the same gender as the victim, when that victim has been sexually 
assaulted. 

- Be entitled to have their property returned as promptly as possible by 
justice system officials, where the property is no longer needed for the 
purposes of the justice system. 

■ Informing victims about the conditional release of offenders on temporary 
absence in provincial institutions. 

■ Making it easier for victims of crime to sue their assailants in civil actions, 
including: 

- Creating a presumption of damages for emotional distress against a person 
convicted of certain crimes (as set out in regulations). 

- A specific presumption that victims of domestic assault, sexual assault or 
attempted sexual assault have suffered emotional distress. 

■ Supporting child witnesses by making it easier for children to be witnesses at 
civil proceedings. 

■ Specifying that money collected from surcharges on provincial and federal 
fines is to be credited to the Victims’ Justice Fund and be used exclusively to 
assist victims. 


2-1 



































Section 


Vision 


In Ontario, domestic violence is criminal and will not be viewed as a 
“private matter”. 

Charges of domestic violence are prosecuted swiftly, effectively and 
consistently, and the safety and needs of victims are a priority from the 
initial contact with police to the conclusion of the case. Specially trained 
personnel — police, Crown Attorneys, VictimAVitness Assistance Program 
staff, probation services staff, Partner Assault Response program staff and 
community agencies — work together to deliver coordinated services that 
are tailored to the needs of victims. 


3-1 


































Domestic Violence Court Program 


Overview 

The domestic violence court program is a response to: 

■ the recommendations of the May/Iles inquest and the Joint Committee on 
Domestic Violence. 

■ the Spring 1999 Throne Speech which made a commitment to prosecute 
crime and support victims. 

■ the Blueprint commitment for action on domestic violence. 

■ the 1999 and 2000 Budget announcements to support the expansion of the 
domestic violence court program. 

The goals of the domestic violence court program are to intervene early in the 
cycle of domestic violence, improve support to victims, and more effectively 
investigate and prosecute domestic violence cases. 

The key to achieving the goals of the domestic violence court program is 
collaboration and a commitment to make the process work. 

The domestic violence court program does not change or affect the rights of the 
accused - including the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty beyond 
a reasonable doubt. It does not alter a Crown Attorney’s discretion to assess 
whether there is a reasonable prospect of conviction and does not alter the 
functions, powers or impartiality of the judiciary. 


4-1 





How it Works 


Designated Crown attorneys will be jointly responsible with Victim/Witness 
Assistance Program staff for implementing the domestic violence court 
program and to work with police, Partner Assault Response program staff, 
interpreter agencies, probation staff, and the community to ensure project 
objectives continue to be met. 

A Crown Attorney considers an offender for an early intervention process if 
an offender has no convictions for violence-related offences, has not caused 
significant injuries or harm, has not used weapons, and chooses to plead 
guilty. The victim is consulted about an arrangement to refer the offender to a 
Partner Assault Response program. The offender is required to complete the 
counselling program to the court’s satisfaction. If the offender does not 
complete the program or re-offends during it, a new charge may be laid. 

When an offender does not meet the criteria for the early intervention process 
or is involved in repeat offences or inflicts serious injury, the focus in the 
specialized domestic violence court program is on coordinated prosecution 
and victim support. Enhanced evidence gathering by specially trained police 
improves a Crown Attorney’s ability to effectively prosecute the case. A 
Crown Attorney trained and designated to prosecute domestic violence cases 
is assigned to the case once the trial date has been set. If the accused is 
convicted, the Crown Attorney considers asking the court to order the 
offender to attend a Partner Assault Response program as a condition of a 
probation order in addition to any other sentence that may be appropriate in 
the circumstances. The victim receives support and information throughout 
the court process from Victim/Witness Assistance staff, and the case is dealt 
with in a timely manner. 


4-2 



Domestic Violence Court Program 

List of Court Sites 


Large Sites 

Medium Sites 

Small Sites 

Old City Hall (Toronto) * 

North Bay * 

St. Thomas 

North York * 

Kingston * 

Lindsay 

Brampton * 

Thunder Bay 

Stratford * 

Ottawa * 

Milton * 

Brockville 

Whitby * 

Brantford 

Peterborough 

Hamilton * 

Cornwall 

Perth 

London* 

Kenora 

Bracebridge 

Scarborough * 

St. Catharines * 

Haileyburv 

Etobicoke * 

Welland 

Timmins 

College Park (Toronto) * 

Sault St. Marie 

Cobourg 

Newmarket * 

Belleville * 

Woodstock * 

Barrie * 

Sarnia 

Pembroke 

Sudbury * 

Chatham 

L’Ongnal * 

Kitchener * 

Guelph 

Orangeville 

Windsor * 


Simcoe 



Kapuskasing 



Parry Sound 



Owen Sound * 



Napanee 



Picton 



Cayuga 



Godench 



Fort Francis 



Dry den 



Walkerton 

Total Offices: 15 

Total Offices: 14 

Total Offices: 25 


* Sites with DVC Program (or implemented by March 2002) 
Remaining sites implemented by 2004. 


4-3 























































Section 


Implementation 


Based on what was learned in the existing domestic violence court sites, the 
following are considered to be essential components of the domestic violence court 
program: 

• active local community coordination 

• interpreter services to give victims linguistic access to services 

• police services to develop and maintain procedures for undertaking and 
managing investigations into domestic violence that address enhanced 
investigative procedures 

• designated Victim/Witness Assistance Program staff specially trained to 
give support and information to victims in domestic violence cases 

• designated Crown Attorneys specially trained to prosecute and to provide 
consistency and continuity to domestic violence cases 

• specialized counselling programs for persons found guilty of domestic 
violence offences and support for their victims 

• specialized processing of cases to ensure that cases are appropriately 
handled and fast-tracked, whether the accused pleads guilty or proceeds to 
trial 

• service in French of comparable quality to service in English in all aspects 
of the DVC initiatives in the 23 designated regions of the province 

Implementation of domestic violence court program varies depending on the volume 
of cases, size and characteristics of the community. 

Id large volume sites, the volume of cases warrants a dedicated DVC 
program. 

For example: 

H In Ottawa, with judicial cooperation, domestic violence cases are scheduled 
on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in a designated courtroom. Crowns 
are able to follow cases through to final disposition. Cases are presented in an 
efficient fashion that makes effective use of court time. 

■ In Hamilton, with judicial cooperation, domestic violence cases are scheduled 
in a courtroom with the designation done on a rotational basis. Domestic 
violence cases are scheduled into one courtroom for a fixed term (e.g. one 
month). At the end of the rotation, domestic violence cases are scheduled in 
another courtroom. 


5-1 













At Old City Hall (Toronto), with judicial cooperation, domestic violence cases 
are scheduled exclusively in one courtroom (K-court). 


In medium volume sites, a DVC program may operate on a part-time basis 
to accommodate the lower charge volume. 

Small sites, and rural, remote and northern areas have lower populations 
but larger geographical areas, which present unique problems unlike large or medium 
sites with concentrated urban areas. Therefore, access to services and isolation are 
issues that require a local approach to establish the early intervention and the 
coordinated prosecution processes. 

Examples of local approaches are: 

■ The L’Orignal approach of fast-tracking domestic violence cases which 
involves the coordination and support of justice partners (police. Crown, and 
Legal Aid) arid the judiciary. 

■ Goderich, where a proactive local coordinating committee (like the DART 
model in Duluth) regularly reviews domestic violence cases and focuses 
on victim safety and coordination of information and services. 

■ Other sites that “red-flag” the domestic violence cases, ensuring that timely 
information and support are provided to victims from the time of the 
accused’s arrest to final disposition. 


Status 

Since 1996, the government has committed to expand the domestic violence court 
program to all 55 court sites by 2004. 

Operational DVC Sites 

Barrie, Brampton, Hamilton, Kitchener, London,North Bay, Ottawa, Oshawa, 
Sudbury, Windsor and in 5 Toronto locations (College Park, Etobicoke, North 
York, Old City Hall and Scarborough). 

Ready by December 31,2001 

Newmarket 

Ready by March 31,2002 

Belleville, Kingston, L’Orignal, Halton, Owen Sound, St. Catharines, Stratford 
and Woodstock. 


5-2 





Ready by 2004 

Brantford, Bracebridge, Brockville, Cayuga, Chatham, Cobourg, Cornwall, 
Dryden, Fort Frances, Goderich, Gore Bay, Guelph, Haileybury, Kapuskasing, 
Kenora, Lindsay, Napanee, Orangeville, Parry Sound, Pembroke, Perth, 
Peterborough, Picton, Sarnia, Sault Ste. Marie, Simcoe, St. Thomas, Thunder 
Bay, Timmins, Walkerton, and Welland. 


5-3 



Section 


urn 


Domestic Violence Court Program 

Flow Chart 


5-4 






'/AP provides early 
vention, referrals to 
-nunity agencies and 
is victim input for bail 
hearina 


Incident 

Accused Arrested 






Accused released, with 

Accused held for bail 


conditions, from station 

hearings 


by police 


DV Crown screens all 
domestic cases for 
eligibility for Early 
Intervention Proaram 


V/WAP collaborates with 
Court Services to establish a 
system for obtaining, for the 
victim, a copy of 
recognizance or conditions of 
release, if accused is 
released. 


ce gather available 
ice (911 tapes, video 
atements, medical 
irds) for prosecution 


jested, victim can meet 
DV Crown to discuss 
ems e.g. bail variation 


NAP may attend 
i meeting to support 
l. V/WAP provides 
room orientation to 
victim. 


VAP provides safe 
ig environment and, 
where possible, 
ompanies victim to 
court 


VAP and DV 
own discuss 
>me with victim 


Where accused 
declines, or is ineligible 
for EIP, case proceeds 
through Coordinated 
Prosecution model in 
DV Court 


Eligible cases for Early 
Intervention Program 
(EIP) 



V/WAP initiates contact 
with victim to discuss 
EIP 





1 

r 

, Accused se 

ts trial date 

1 

r 

DV Crown assigned to 
case 

1 

r 


Accused pleads guilty 


Victim receives info about 
criminal justice process, 
EIP and provides input for 
bail variations. V/WAP 
does not discuss evidence 


Accused receives 
immediate admission to 
counselling at PARs 
agency 



DV Crown meets with 


victim for trial 


preparation 


(DOiice attend) 

1 V 


PARs worker contacts 
victim to inquire about 
accused and to offer 
support and referrals 



Bail conditions variea 
with the consent of the 
Crown and Victim 


V/WAP advises victim 
of the outcome of the 
bail variation 




Trial in DV Court 

1 

r 

Accused found guilty or 
not guilty 

1 

r 


m provides input on 
itencing. V/WAP to 
vise of disposition 



If accused found guilty, 
accused is sentenced. 
If appropriate, accused 
is ordered to attend 
PAR program as a 
condition of probation. 


Accused 

breaches 

bail 

conditions 


Upon the successful completion 
of counselling, accused is 
sentenced. 



V/WAP advises victim 
of new charge and 
ensuing process 



Victim provides input on 
sentencing. V/WAP to 
advise of disposition 


Details of offense given to 
Probation and PARS Program 



5-5 


Note: 


Interpreter services are available when 

The victim does not speak English or French 

The accused does not speak English or French and is 

attending PARs 

French-speaking accused and victims are immediately 
identified and offered services in French, as required. 















































































Roles of Justice Stakeholders 

A. Domestic Violence Court Advisory Committee 

B. Crown Attorney 

C. Victim/Witness Assistance Program 

D. Court Services 

E. Police 

F. Partner Assault Response Programs 
G„ Interpreter Services 

H Probation and Parole Services 


6-1 





Wl\ 


Role of Domestic Violence Court Advisory 
Committee (DVCAC) 


Role 


■ Facilitate the effective implementation and ongoing effective operation of 
the domestic violence court (DVC) program. 

■ Coordinate justice and related support sendees for victims of domestic 
violence. 

0 Ensure respect for the victim in the justice system. 

8 Focus on victim safety and offender accountability in the domestic 
violence court program. 

“ Provide a mechanism for information-sharing, process review and 
problem-solving with specific emphasis on the implementation and 
effective operation of the DVC program. 

H Promote a coordinated, effective justice response to domestic violence 
cases within the broader community by maintaining intersectoral links to 
other community sectors that may or may not provide direct services 
within a justice context. 

Strategies for Working Together 

■ Establish and commit to written terms of reference for the DVC Advisory 
Committee (see sample. Section 7A). 

■ Establish and commit to written protocols for the DVC program that 
address the roles and responsibilities of member organizations relating to 
the DVC program. Protocols should include the requirement to make the 
program available in both official languages where applicable. 

■ Members will ensure they have the authonty to make recommendations, 
develop policies and make decisions on behalf of the organizations or 
agencies they represent in their capacity as members. 


6-2 











■ Members will: 

Attend and actively participate in the committee’s work, as 
appropriate, or send an alternate if unavailable. 

Abide by the terms of reference. 

- Conduct committee business within the context of common goals or 
purposes. 

- Represent his or her sector’s mandate or interests on the committee. 

- Ensure that the required actions are undertaken to the extent that his 
or her portfolio allows. 

- Provide the committee with any information pertaining to its 
operations to facilitate a coordinated justice response (subject to 
statutory limitations). 


Please Note v 


◄.> 


(broader community 
representation) 

■ Not a subcommittee of the broader Community Coordinating Committee, 
although membership may overlap. 

a Not intended to duplicate the work of pre-existing local committees. 
However, ultimate responsibility for implementation and ongoing 
operation of the domestic violence court program rests with the Crown 
Attorney, and Victim/Witness Assistance Program staff. Existing 
committees may have to be reconstituted, or a separate Domestic Violence 
Court Advisory Committee may be formed. 


Domestic 
Violence Court 
Advisory 
Committee 


Domestic 

Violence 

Community 

Coordinating 

Committee 


Note: Large DVC sites have established a separate DVC Advisory 
Committee apart from the Local Coordinating Committee involving the key 
stakeholders responsible for the implementation process. In medium and 
small DVC sites, where membership on the local coordinating committee may 
not be as high, a separate DVC Advisory Committee may not be necessary. 
Implementation issues might be discussed as part of the Coordinating 
Committee structure. 


6-3 











Section 




Role of Crown Attorney 


Role 


■ Prepare and prosecute domestic violence cases effectively using all 
available and relevant evidence. 

■ Jointly responsible with the Victim/Witness Assistance Program and other 
justice stakeholders for implementing the domestic violence court process. 

■ Work with and advise police on issues of investigation and evidence¬ 
gathering for the prosecution of domestic violence cases. 

■ Inform and seek input from victims on matters relating to the prosecution. 
Prepare victims and witnesses for court. 

■ Dedicate a team of specially trained domestic violence Crowns to the 
domestic violence court program. 

■ Implement a Crown case management system that covers all criminal 
cases to ensure that all domestic violence cases are included in the 
specialized process. Bilingual cases should be flagged as such to ensure 
no process delays or service delivery gaps occur. 

■ Institute an early intervention process for dealing with early guilty pleas, 
including a process for dealing with breaches in a timely and responsive 
manner. 

■ Institute a coordinated prosecution process for dealing with other domestic 
violence cases that proceed to tnal or result in a plea. 


Domestic Violence Court Advisory Committee 


■ Participate on the local Domestic Violence Court Advisory Committee, 
using it as the forum in which to raise and to discuss issues of 
implementation and the operation of the domestic violence court program. 
This will serve to better coordinate services to victims and keep 
community partners informed. 


6-4 







■ Maintain open dialogue with community agencies to build mutual 
understanding. 

■ Exchange relevant information with members of the Domestic Violence 
Court Advisory Committee as it relates to victims of domestic violence 
and victim safety (subject to confidentiality restrictions). 


Please Note 


■ While the input of the victim, ether justice partners and community 
partners is valuable, there are matters where the ultimate discretion 
belongs to the Crown, particularly relating to the prosecution of the case 
(for example, deciding whether to proceed with a case based on whether 
there is a reasonable prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest). 

■ While the Crown may introduce all available and relevant evidence, the 
standard of proof for all criminal cases is to establish beyond a reasonable 
doubt that the accused person is guilty. This determination is made by the 
judge. 


6-5 





Section 


RH 


Role of Victim/Witness Assistance Program 


Role 


* Jointly responsible with the Crown Attorney or his or her designate for 
implementing the domestic violence court program. 

■ Establish early contact and guide victims through the court process. 

■ Provide information, safety planning, community referrals, advocacy, and 
emotional support to enhance victims’/witnesses’ understanding of and 
participation in the court process. 

■ Inform and seek input from victims throughout the court process. Prepare 
victims and witnesses for court, in cooperation with the Crown Attorney. 

■ Make reasonable efforts to contact the victim by telephone as soon as 
possible after a charge has been laid, recognizing the need for sensitivity 
with regai*d to issues of confidentiality and the victim’s safety. In 
designated areas of the province, ensure Victim/Witness Assistance 
Program services are available in French. 

■ Where the victim has not been contacted by telephone, send a letter of 
introduction to the victim. 

■ The domestic violence Crown Attorney should be kept informed about 
relevant victim issues and concerns. 

■ Discuss and address the victim’s immediate safety concerns, and refer 
them to an appropriate community agency for a comprehensive safety 
plan. Maintain an inventory of French language resources in order to 
assist French-speaking victims. 

" Assess the victim’s needs for referrals to community agencies or other 
support services and provide appropriate referrals. 

■ Assess the victim’s needs for interpreter services and/or arrange to 
accommodate special requirements. 

■ Provide the victim with information on the criminal justice process and 
case specific information. 

■ Provide emotional support and respond to the victim’s concerns. 


6—6 









■ Refer the victim to the investigating officer or a domestic violence Crown 
Attorney for inquiries regarding evidence. 

■ Advocate on behalf of the victim with the Crown Attorney and police 
within the limits of Ministry of the Attorney General policies. 

■ Collaborate with Crown Attorneys to seek victim input at various stages 
(for example bail hearings, bail reviews, bail variations, guilty pleas and 
sentencing hearings) 

■ Prepare victims for trial by providing courtroom orientation, and if 
possible, attending Crown/victims meetings with the domestic violence 
Crown and investigating officer. 

■ Accompany victims to trial when required, and/or coordinate with police 
and the Crown Attorney to create a system to notify victims of the 
outcome of a trial, bail hearing, guilty plea, etc. 

■ Notify victims of sentencing hearings and obtain victim input. 


Domestic Violence Court Advisory Committee 


■ Participate on the local Domestic Violence Court Advisory Committee, 
using it as the forum in which to raise and to discuss issues of 
implementation and the operation of the domestic violence court program. 
This will serve to better coordinate services to victims and keep 
community partners informed. 

* Maintain open dialogue with community agencies to build mutual 
understanding. 

■ Exchange relevant information with members of the Domestic Violence 
Court Advisory Committee as it relates to victims of domestic violence 
and victim safety (subject to confidentiality restnctions). 


Please Note 


* Victim/Witness Assistance Program staff do not discuss evidence with 
victims/witnesses. Victims/witnesses who wish to discuss their evidence 
will be referred to the police or to the Crown Attorney. 


6-7 









Section 


UW 

Role of Court Services 


Role 


■ Provide court services input and support to the Crown Attorney’s Office 
and the Victim/Witness Assistance Program in the development of 
domestic violence court processes. 

■ Provide support to the judiciary in the administration of the courts. 

■ Provide administrative services relating to court cases, including: 

- Preparing, processing and storing court documents, exhibits and 
transcripts. 

- Tracking case status and outcomes. 

- Preparing court orders for judicial officer’s signature. 

- Scheduling case hearings under the direction of the judiciary. 

Providing court facilities and courtroom staff, including 
court interpreters. 

- Properly identifying and processing bilingual cases. 

■ Provide copies of court orders and recognizance/conditions of release to 
Victim/Witness Assistance Program staff at the earliest opportunity for 
conveyance to victims. 

■ Facilitate the exchange of information for the Bail Program through 
protocols and procedures. 

■ Share relevant information on court procedures and specific facility needs 
with justice partners. 


Domestic Violence Court Advisory Committee 


■ Participate on the local Domestic Violence Court Advisory Committee, 
using it as the forum in which to raise and to discuss issues of 
implementation and the operation of the domestic violence court program. 


6-8 







Please Note 


8 The DVC program does not require additional courtrooms to be created; 
however, a reconfiguration of the court scheduling to permit consolidation 
of domestic violence-related cases on the court plan is recommended. 
Judicial consent is required for any changes in this regard. 


6-9 









Section 



Role of Police 


Role 


Overview 

s Investigate occurrences and gather evidence. 

■ Ensure thorough investigation and preparation of cases. 

■ Lay charge(s) where the officer has reasonable grounds to believe an 
offence has been committed. 

■ Decide whether to release (with or without conditions) or to hold for bail 
hearing before justice. 

■ Provide all information to the Crown Attorney for prosecution of charge(s) 
from the bail hearing to sentencing. 

■ Notify witnesses when to attend court. 

“ Testify at court hearings. 

■ Provide assistance to victims of domestic violence based on the police 
service’s local procedures. 

■ Refer victims to services. 

Model Police Response to Domestic Violence 

The “Model Police Response to Domestic Violence” consists of four 
guidelines for police services: domestic violence occurrences; bail and violent 
cnme; criminal harassment; and preventing and responding to occurrences 
involving firearms. Police services should: 

■ Implement one of four models for overseeing domestic violence 
investigations, and should implement enhanced investigative procedures 
for evidence gathering and interviewing. 

■ Follow the guidelines on domestic violence occurrences on: 

- Communications and dispatch. 

- Initial response. 

- Follow up. 

— Mandatory charge policies. 


6-10 








- Linkages to procedures on bail. 

- Criminal harassment and firearms. 

- The use of the Domestic Violence Supplementary Report Form. 

- Children at risk. 

- High risk and repeat offenders. 

- Occurrences involving members of the police service. 

- Victim assistance. 

- Monitoring and supervision. 

- Ministry accredited training. 


Domestic Violence Court Advisory Committee 


■ Participate on the local Domestic Violence Court Advisory Committee, 
using it as the forum in which to raise and to discuss issues of 
implementation and the operation of the domestic violence court program. 
This will serve to better coordinate services to victims and keep 
community partners informed. 

■ Maintain open dialogue with community agencies to build mutual 
understanding. 

■ Exchange relevant information with members of the Domestic Violence 
Court Advisory Committee as it relates to victims of domestic violence 
and victim safety (subject to confidentiality restrictions). 


Please Note 


■ A police officer must have evidence and reasonable grounds to believe an 
offence has been committed in order to lay a charge. 

■ Once a charge is laid, only a Crown Attorney — not a police officer — 
can withdraw the charge, and only in limited circumstances. 


6-11 








Section 


Ere 

Role of Partner Assault Response Programs 


Role 


Overview 

■ Partner Assault Response programs associated with a domestic violence 
court program are funded and administered by the Ministry of the 
Attorney General and are delivered by community-based agencies. 

■ Provide specialized 16-week group, counselling/educational intervention 
programs for people who have abused their partners. 

■ Provide clients with an opportunity to examine the beliefs and attitudes 
that they have used to justify the abuse, to learn non-abusive ways of 
resolving conflict, and challenge clients to develop expectations about 
their relationships that are based on respect, autonomy and equality. 

8 Maintain contact with the partner while the client is in tire program to 
improve the victim’s safety by providing outreach and support, assistance 
with safety planning, referrals to other community resources, and 
information about the Partner Assault Response program, including 
feedback on the offender’s compliance with the program. 

■ Maintain links with criminal justice partners while the client is in the 
program. This includes informing probation officers and/or the court of 
missed appointments, providing ongoing information on the client’s status 
with the program, and being available as a witness if a client is breached 
for non-completion of the program. 


Domestic Violence Court Advisory Committee 


■ Participate on the local Domestic Violence Court Advisory Committee, 
using it as the forum in which to raise and to discuss issues of 
implementation and the operation of the domestic violence court program. 
This will serve to better coordinate services to victims and keep 
community partners informed. 


6-12 







■ Maintain open dialogue with community agencies to build mutual 
understanding. 

■ Exchange relevant information with members of the Domestic Violence 
Court Advisory Committee as it relates to victims of domestic violence 
and victim safety (subject to confidentiality restrictions). 


Please Note 


■ Satisfactory completion of a PAR program is based on attendance at a 
minimum of 13/16 sessions, full, active participation in the program, and 
completion of all homework assignments. It should be noted however, 
that a positive response while participating in group sessions may, or may 
not, correspond with behaviour demonstrated toward partners or former 
partners outside of the group sessions. 

Systemic accountability is demonstrated when participants that do not 
participate fully in the program are reported to the probation officer in the 
coordinated prosecution process (Fail to Comply probation) and to the 
Crown/police in the early intervention process (Fail to Comply 
recognizance). Thus, offenders are held accountable and face systemic 
consequences for violating court orders or for failing to follow the rules of 
the program. 

■ Programs cannot state with any certainty that a client has accepted 
responsibility and will never be abusive again. PAR program staff explain 
this limitation to the partner and the community at large, so as not to foster 
any unrealistic expectations concerning the outcome of participation by an 
offender in a PAR program. 

■ PAR programs are not anger management programs. Abusive partners use 
violence to exert power and control over their victims. The control can 
take many forms, including psychological, financial and physical, and the 
abuse can be both verbal and physical. Anger management programs do 
not address the purposeful exercise of power and control over victims. As 
well, anger management programs do not contact and provide outreach to 
the victim, which is an integral part to the domestic violence court PAR 
programming. 

■ As with all counselling, success depends on the motivation of the 
individual offender to accept responsibility. Additionally, the success of 
any intervention with abusers depends not only on the PAR program, but 
on a coordinated cnminal justice and community response in which all 
partners work together to enhance victim safety and increase offender 
accountability. 


6-13 







" The PAR program requires at a minimum a copy of the bail conditions and 
a copy of the police occurrence report for all offenders referred through 
the early intervention process. Clear protocols must be established 
specifying who is responsible for providing this information. 

■ The PAR program requires a copy of the police occurrence report, a copy 
of the probation order and a copy of the probation RIF (Referral Intake 
Form) for every client referred through the Coordinated Prosecution 
stream. Ideally, this information should be provided before the 
intake/assessment interview. 

■ When a client is discharged from the PAR. program prior to completion, 
the appropriate criminal justice partner should inform PAR program staff 
what enforcement action was taken as a result of the client’s failure to 
complete the program. 


6-14 





Section 



Role of Interpreters 


Role 


■ Interpret messages transmitted between victims of domestic violence who 
do not speak English and service providers. Service providers include the 
police, Victim Witness Assistance Program staff, Crown Attorneys, 
Probation and Parole officers, hospital staff, and PARs workers. 

■ Provide language interpretation services to the following: 

- Police in relation to victim contact. 

- Crowns in relation to victim contact. 

- V/WAP in relation to victim contact. 

- PARs in relation to victim contact and offender participation in 
the Partner Assault Response program group. 

- Hospital-based domestic violence pilot projects in relation to victim 
contact. 

- Probation and Parole in relation to victim contact. 

- Sexual Assault Treatment Centres in relation to victim contact. 



■ Participate on the local Domestic Violence Court Advisory Committee, 
using it as the forum in which to raise and to discuss issues of 
implementation and the operation of the domestic violence court process. 
This will serve to better coordinate services to victims and keep 
communi ty partners informed. 

■ Maintain open dialogue with community agencies to build mutual 
understanding. 

■ Exchange relevant information with members of the Domestic Violence 
Court Advisory Committee as it relates to victims of domestic violence 
and victim safety (subject to confidentiality restnctions). 


6-15 










Please Note 


■ The interpreters are not experts on various cultures and do not provide 
"cultural" explanations. 

■ The interpreter will not disclose any information unless he or she has the 
approval of all parties or when required by law. 

■ Interpreters are not trained to assess a person’s credibility. 

■ Interpreters do not provide direct emotional support to victims. 

■ Services are currently available in the following languages: Amharic, 
Arabic, Cambodian-Khmer, Cantonese, Farsi, Greek, Hindi, Korean, 
Kurdish (Kurmandji), Kurdish (Sorani), Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, 
Punjabi, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Somali, Spanish, Tamil, Tigringa, 
Turkish, Twi, Urdu, Vietnamese. 

■ From December 2001 the services will also be available in: Albanian, 
Czech, Finnish, French, German, Gujarati, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, 
Ojibway, Ojicree 1 , Tagalog and Ukrainian. 

■ The interpreter services are available on a 24-hour basis. 

■ Services are provided on site (anticipate a 2 hour turnaround time) and via 
a three-way telephone connection. 

■ The service also provides message relays in the victim’s language. 


1 Service in this language is provided on site in Kenora and Thunder Bay and by telephone in 
other areas of the province. 


6-16 





Section 


[:i:i 


Role of Probation and Parole Officers 


Role 


■ Assess the offender’s suitability for community supervision 

■ Prepare court ordered and pre-parole reports, and make recommendations for 
conditions that will assist in the supervision and address issues contributing to the 
offender’s criminal behaviour. 

■ Supervise probationers, parolees and conditional sentence offenders in the 
community. 

■ Enforce probation/conditional sentence orders and parole certificates 

■ Immediately advise the police and the Ontario Board of Parole (if applicable) of new 
allegations of abuse by the offender. 

■ Attend court as requested. 

w Contact victims to: 

- explain the role of the probation and parole officer in supervising the 
victim’s partner and in enforcing the conditions of any court 
orders/parole certificates; 

- receive information about the offender to assist in supervision; 

- explain the limits to confidentiality of information a victim provides; 
and 

- refer the victim to support services in the community. 

■ Liaise with service providers, community correctional stakeholders, justice partners 
and the public. 


Domestic Violence Court Advisory Committees 


■ Participate on the local Domestic Violence Court Advisory Committee, 
using it as the forum in which to raise and to discuss issues of 
implementation and the operation of the domestic violence court program. 
This will serve to better coordinate services to victims and keep 
community partners informed. 


6-17 








■ Maintain open dialogue with community agencies to build mutual 
understanding. 

■ In some communities French language resources may be scarce, so an 
effort should be made to identify them for future reference. 

■ Exchange relevant information with members of the Domestic Violence 
Court Advisory Committee as it relates to victims of domestic violence 
and victim safety (subject to confidentiality restrictions). 


Please Note 


® The probation and parole officer cannot release information about the 
offender’s progress or participation in programming. 

■ Probation and parole officers do not normally have a role in the early 
intervention model unless the offender is already on supervision or is 
subsequently sentenced to a period of probation. 

■ Victims who provide information to probation officers are cautioned that 
the information and its source may be disclosed to the offender under the 
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. If the victim is 
apprehensive about this potential for disclosure, the officer will designate 
the information as confidential which provides a much greater probability, 
although no guarantee, that it will not be disclosed at a later date through a 
Freedom of Information request. 

H Information that can be provided to the victim about an adult offender 
includes: 

■ Whether or not the offender is in custody. 

■ Whether or not the offender is on probation, parole order or 
conditional sentence. 

■ The parole eligibility date. 

■ Standard conditions of the probation or conditional sentence order, or 
parole certificate. 

■ Whether parole has been suspended or revoked. 

■ Additional conditions which specifically name the victim (e.g., non¬ 
association). 

■ The general geographic area of release from custody. 


6-18 





























A. Sample Terms of Reference for Domestic Violence 
Court Advisory Committee 

B. French Language Services 

C. Hospital-Based Domestic Violence Pilot Programme 

D. Victim Support Line Fact Sheet 


7-1 






Section 


wi* 


Sample Terms of Reference for the Domestic Violence 
Court Advisory Committee 


Purpose 


The purpose of this committee is to: 

■ Facilitate the effective implementation and ongoing effective operation of 
the specialized domestic violence court (DVC) program. 

■ Provide an accountability mechanism for the membership in relation to the 
implementation and effective operation of the DVC program. 

B Provide a forum for information-sharing, process review and problem¬ 
solving with specific emphasis on the implementation and effective 
operation of the DVC program. 

■ Promote a coordinated, effective justice response to domestic violence 
cases in both languages within the broader community by maintaining 
intersectoral links to other community sectors that may or may not provide 
direct services within a justice context. 

Note: Large DVC sites have established a separate DVC Advisory 
Committee apart from the Local Coordinating Committee involving the key 
stakeholders responsible for the implementation process. In medium and 
small DVC sites, where membership on the local coordinating committee may 
not be as high, a separate DVC Advisory Committee may not be necessary. 
Implementation issues might be discussed as part of the Coordinating 
Committee structure. 


Declaration of Commitment 


■ The undersigned are committed to implementing and abiding by the 

mutually agreed upon terms of reference. The undersigned also commit to 
reviewing and revising the terms of reference as may be necessary on a 
regular basis. 


7-2 










■ The undersigned agree to respect the opinions of all members, to 
participate in good faith and trust, and to give all members equal 
opportunity to express their views and concerns. 

(Include signatures for all member organizations) 

Dates of signatures 


Mandate 


The work of the committee will include: 

■ Facilitating implementation of the specialized domestic violence court 
program. 

■ Monitoring processes and identifying gaps and problems in the justice 
community’s response to domestic violence. 

8 Developing and implementing policies, procedures and protocols. 

■ Effectively communicating amongst participating agencies. 

■ Working with other sectors within the community to promote a 
coordinated, effective response to domestic violence cases. 

■ Consulting with other DVC Advisory Committees to promote consistency 
and the sharing of best practices. 

■ Where appropriate, reviewing and analyzing specific cases of domestic 
violence for the purpose of improving the justice response to domestic 
violence cases. 

■ Identifying vulnerable areas for accessibility to the program in the French 
language and ensuring mechanisms are established to meet needs. 


Membership 


The following membership is recommended under the DVC program model: 

■ Crown 

■ Victim/Witness Assistance Program 

■ Court Services 

■ Police 

■ Probation and Parole 

■ Partner Assault Response Program agency (ies) 


7-3 










■ Interpreter Agency (ies) 

® Sexual Assault Treatment Centre Domestic Violence Coordinator 

■ At least one representative from the violence against women sector as a 
representative of the broader Community Coordinating Committee 

It is recommended that close linkages be maintained with the following: 

* Judiciary 

■ Duty counsel 
® Defence bar 

■ Regional coroners 

■ Community-based support/advocacy agencies (Francophone, Aboriginal 
and multi-cultural/racial minorities) 

■ Children’s Aid Society 


Problem Resolution 


" Issues that affect the effective implementation and ongoing operation of 
the domestic violence court program will be brought to the Domestic 
Violence Court Advisory Committee and resolved collaboratively. 

■ Where it appears there is overlap between other community groups and 
the DVC Advisory Committee, all committees will work collaboratively to 
effectively coordinate their functions to avoid duplication and minimize 
gaps in service delivery. 


Structure 

\ ' V'~:. •’ t. 


“ Domestic Violence Court Advisory Committees will determine their own 
structure and rules of operation: 

- How will decisions be made (consensus, majority vote, other) 

- How will the Committee Chair be selected? Will it be a 
rotational duty? 

- How often will the committee meet? 

■ Clencal and administrative support for the work of the DVC Advisory 
Committee will be provided by the Crown Attorney and the V/WAP 
Manager. 


7-4 


















Confidentiality 


■ The DVC Advisory Committee’s members will act within the statutory 
and regulatory requirements by which they are bound. 

■ The statutory and regulatory requirements relating to the protection of 
privacy issues will be respected in any process or policy undertaken by the 
DVC Advisory Committee or its member organizations. 


7-5 





















Section 


ir^i 


Resources 

French Language Services (FLS) 


Background 


Ontario's citizens have the legal right to services in either of the official 
languages of the courts, English or French. 

These French language rights are guaranteed under the following statutes: 


The Criminal Code of Canada (Federal Law) 

a In all parts of Canada, criminal matters may be heard in French or English. 

■ The defendant’s legal right to have a hearing conducted in French or 
English applies to all types of court hearings — not just trials. 


The Courts of Justice Act (Provincial Law) 


m English and French are the official languages of the courts in all areas of 
Ontario. 

■ French-speaking accused persons have the right to have the case heard in 
French. This right applies to any hearing — not just trials. 

■ The judge, the Crown and members of the jury, must be French-speaking 
in a bilingual proceeding. 


The French Language Services Act (Provincial Law) 

■ A French-speaking person has the right to receive services in French when 
dealing with head offices of Ministries, and agencies of the Government of 
Ontario. 

■ Ministry offices that are located in or serving the 23 designated areas must 
also offer services in French. 


7-6 





















































■ Some institutions are covered, such as residential facilities (jails), when 
designated by the regulations. 

■ The onus is on the Ministry or government agency to offer services in 
French, not on the public to request them. 

■ All clients should be made aware of the availability of services in French 
through signs, bilingual telephone greetings, and French-speaking staff in 
strategic locations. 


Responsibility 


The Government of Ontario must ensure these rights are not compromised, 

and that French language services are provided without prejudice or detriment 

to the requesting party or his or her case. 

The Office of the Coordinator of French Language Services (OCFLS) can 

assist by: 

■ Providing advice in the provision of French language services 

■ Advising on French language service requirements 

■ Helping to identify community resources capable of assisting justice 
partners to determine effective quality service in French 

■ Assisting in developing French language service plans to ensure both 
victims and offenders receive services in French. 

■ Assisting in identifying strategic access points in the justice process to 
ensure French language services are properly planned. 

B Assisting in developing alternate intervention programs where required 
that meet the needs of the Francophone community. 


Limitations 


The Office of the Coordinator of French Language Services is not a direct 
service provider that can take the place of other Ministry or agency program 
areas. 


7-7 








Resources 

Hospital-Based Domestic Violence Pilot Program 


Overview 


■ Domestic Violence (BV) Pilot Programs are located in some hospital- 
based Sexual Assault Treatment Centres (SATCs) and provide a 24-hour a 
day specialized team of nurses and physicians trained to address the needs 
of victims expenencing abuse. 

■ The Pilot Program is intended to: 

■ Improve the quality of care for victims of partner abuse; 

■ Enhance the safety of victims and children who are experiencing 
domestic violence; 

H Assist in breaking the cycle of partner abuse; and 

■ Assist in the criminal prosecution of partner abuse cases by providing 
documentation of injuries. 

■ Services provided include: 

■ Medical treatment and documentation of forensic evidence (including 
photography of injuries); 

■ Crisis support and information; 

■ Assistance in safety planning; and 

■ Referrals to other community services. 


Role of Service Providers 


■ When a domestic violence case is identified by the victim, by the police or 
through screening in the Emergency Room of a hospital, providing the 
client agrees, an on-call DV nurse is paged. 

■ A DV nurse arrives within 30 - 45 minutes, explains his or her role and 
establishes a safe, non-judgmental environment in which to communicate. 


7-8 









■ The nurse assesses the immediate concerns of the client (e.g. child care, 
safety, etc.) and gathers medical information about the client’s condition 
from the ER staff 

■ French-speaking victims are identified and offered services in French as 
required. 

■ The need for an interpreter is assessed and arrangements are made if 
necessary. 

■ The client gets medical clearance from ER (injuries treated, etc.). 

■ The nurse provides the client with information to assist the client in 
making choices (e.g. implications of police involvement, purposes of 
documentation, process of documentation, etc.). 

■ The DV nurse will then proceed with the following: 

- Detailed medical documentation on standarized forms; 

- Photography of the injuries in the ER with follow-up photographs 
taken 24 hours later when bruising may be more apparent; 

- Risk assessment and management; 

- Safety-planning; 

- Immediate needs assessment (shelter, counselling, chiidcare, housing, 
financial, etc.); 

- Transportation arrangements if required; and 

- Scheduling of a follow-up appointment. 


Role of Domestic Violence Program Coordinator in Community ; 


■ Work closely with other service providers in the social and justice sectors 
to develop an effective mechanism and protocols for an integrated 
community response to domestic violence. This includes maintaining an 
inventory of French language resources in order to assist French-speaking 
victims. 

■ Ensure that content and timing of completion of documentation meets 
needs of justice system. 

■ Provide education and outreach to ER personnel and other areas of the 
Hospital. 

■ Provide outreach and education to community partners including shelters, 
counselling agencies, police and French-language violence against women 
agencies. 



■ Provide linkage to Domestic Violence Community Coordinating 
Committee. 

■ Training of on-call SATC nurses on issues of domestic violence. 


7-10 



Section 


n»j 

Resources 


Victim Support Line: Fact Sheet 









VICTIM SUPPORT LINE 

- - ' 


. ; .- ' Cy 


. ■ - y. : ;... _ : :■ - 

- '■ ; -' :A 


FACT SHEET 

" - ' .■ y. : . ' 


• The Victim Support Line (VSL) is a province wide toll-free information line providing a range 
of services to victims of crime. It has four components: 


Victim Notification System 


Keeps victims informed about the status and scheduled 
release of provmcially sentenced offenders. 

The victim calls 1-888-579-2888, in Toronto 314-2447. Victims are asked to leave a message, 
name and telephone number, and will be contacted the next business day by a corrections staff 
person. 

When the call is returned, the victim is provided with available information about the present 
status of the offender and then given the option of registering with the system. Registered 
victims receive automated voice messages by phone any time there is a change in the status of 
the offender. 

information includes: escapes or failures to return from leave; parole hearing dates and 
decisions to release on parole or deny parole; temporary absences; any change in a scheduled 
release date; and/or readmission to a provincial institution.or transfer to other junsdiction. 

If the offender is undei a form of community supervision, the victim can be given the name and 
phone number of the supervising probation/parole officer to assist with any concerns. 


Concern about Release of the Offender 


Victims can submit information to correctional 
personnel or the Ontario Board of Parole 


about any concerns they might have with regard to release of the offender. They are 
directed how, and to whom, information should be submitted. This information is 
considered when making release decisions about the offender. 


Supports and Services 


Connects victims directly to an information counsellor who can refer them to the 
services in their community that can help them overcome 


the impact of cnme. This includes counselling and other supportive services. 


The Justice System 


Provides access to recorded information about how the Cnminal 
Justice System works. This helps victims familiarize themselves with 


the Justice system and lets them review information at their own pace. 


Information about Young Offenders because of limitations imposed by the 
protection of pnvacy under the Youn? Offenders 
Act. Victims requiring information about Young Offenders should speak to the police 
officer in charge of the case or to the Crown Attorney. 

• Up to date information on bail releases. Correctional facilities do not know about bail 
releases until the end of the court day, when offenders are returned (or not returned) to the 
institution. Victims may register for notification but must remember that the information is not 
immediate. 


The VSL cannot provide: 


7-12 















OFFENDER INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO PUBLIC 


> Current charges/convictions (not any previous charges). 

> Whether or not an offender is on probation, conditional sentence or 

parole. 

> Whether or not an offender is an inmate (sentenced, remand, federal 
inmate or immigration detainee) in a provincial institution. 

> The parole eligibility date and the fact that the offender will be 
considered for parole before that date if the sentence is six months or 
more. 

> Whether the offender has applied for and been granted or denied a 
parole hearing if the sentence is less than six months. 

>. Whether or not the offender has been granted parole and the date of 
release. 

> Whether parole has been suspended and then terminated, revoked or 
continued. 

> The fact that an offender may apply for an unescorted Temporary 
Absence pass at any time during their term of incarceration. 

> Whether or not the offender has been granted an unescorted 
Temporary Absence pass and the date of release. 

> The standard conditions of the probation order, conditional sentence 
order, parole certificate or Temporary Absence Program agreement, 
as well as all conditions that pertain directly to the victim e.g. non¬ 
association condition. 

> The name and phone number of the supervising Probation/Parole 
Officer. 


7-13 




> The release date from custody. 

> The general geographic area of release. 

> The final warrant expiry date. 

> Whether the offender has escaped or is unlawfully at large and 
recaptured. 

OFFENDER INFORMATION WHICH CANNOT BE RELEASED 
INCLUDES: 

> Institution where offender is currently located. 

> Program information (i.e. participation or progress). 

> Address on release (only geographical area). 

> Behavioral information of offender. 


7-14 






HOW THE VICTIM NOTIFICATION SYSTEM WORKS 


> The system works by scanning the Offender Tracking Information System (OTIS) every 10 
minutes for any changes in an offender’s release status. 

> It provides registrants with automated telephone notification of changes in an offender’s 
release status, specifically parole hearing dates; parole decisions; escapes; recaptures; 
unescorted temporary passes and releases at sentence completion. 

> It is sentence specific, in other words, it is related to a specific offence or group of offences, 
including probation following incarceration. 

> When there is a notification, the system telephones the registrant every !4 hour for 72 hours 
until the registrant is successfully contacted. 

> The system does not call between 11:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. 

> If someone answers the telephone and does not enter the Personal Identification Number (PIN) 
that the caller selected upon registration, the notification cannot be heard. When this happens, 
or if an answering machine picks up, the system will start calling every two hours instead of 
every' l A hour. 

> The system recognizes the registrant by the PIN. 

> If after 72 hours, the registrant has not'been successfully contacted, we are aware bv an 
extensive reconciliation process. We then, depending on the circumstances, rese: the system to 
call again over 72 hours, or attempt to notify the registrant manually. 

> It is essential to the system that the registrant keep us up-to-date with a current telephone 
number or advise us if they will be away from the telephone number for more than three days. 

> Notification can be stopped at the request of the registrant by calling back to 1 -888-579-2888. 

> Registrants may call the Victim Support Line and select OPTION 4 to hear any 
outstanding/undelivered notifications. They will be prompted to enter their area code, 
telephone number and PIN to hear the notification. IMPORTANT : registrants must enter the 
telephone number with which they registered. 

NOTE: For safety/securitv reasons recorded message to registrant is vague . We advise 
registrants that this measure is put in place so that if a child/neighbour, etc. answers the phone, they 
v/ill not know nature of call. If necessary, it can be simply explained as a “Sears/Zellers or 
Courier Service” notification. 

Message heard upon answering telephone is as follows: 

Hello. As was requested, a notification is now available. To hear the notice, please enter 
your four digit personal identification number followed by the pound sign now. " 

Message will not be released until this process is followed. 


7-15 







Section 


g:l 

Questions and Answers 


What are domestic violence courts? 


The use of the term “domestic violence court” is a simple way for the 
government to describe to the public a specialized process for domestic 
violence cases during the investigation and prosecution stages of the criminal 
justice system. The domestic violence court program is designed to provide 
better support to victims, intervene early in domestic abuse situations, to more 
effectively prosecute these cases, and to hold offenders accountable if they are 
found guilty. 


How dowe know the domestic violence court program works? 


Ministry of the Attorney General monitoring in 2000 found: 

• domestic violence cases move through the justice system faster. The 
average time for domestic violence cases at domestic violence court sites, 
from the first appearance to the conclusion of the case, is 149 days. This 
compares to an average of 188 days for all types of cnminal court cases in 
the province; 

• the guilty plea rate in domestic violence court sites for all domestic 
violence cases averages 60% compared to 54% before the domestic 
violence court program was implemented. 

A Toronto-based study conducted by the Woman Abuse Council of the first 

two domestic violence court sites found that: 

• Crown attorneys were more able to successfully prosecute domestic 
violence cases; 

• Lower rates of withdrawals, dismissals and peace bonds; 

• Higher rates of guilty verdicts; 

• Higher rates of victims attending court; and 

• The domestic violence courts make a difference by providing a more 
coordinated and consistent response to abuse that better protects women. 


8-1 











Does the domestic violence court program affect judicial authority? 


No. The judiciary retains all existing statutory and common law authority. 
The accused will continue to benefit from all existing Charter rights and the 
Crown will continue to assess the merits of a domestic violence prosecution to 
the same standard as all other prosecutions. In some cases where the accused 
pleads guilty early and attends a Partner Assault Response program, the 
Crown and Defense may make a joint recommendation for the justice to 
consider. However, the discretion to accept or reject the recommendation 
continues to rest with the justice. 


Will the domestic violence court program add to the case backlog in 
some large sites? 


Research has shown that the domestic violence court program can reduce case 
processing time. Savings in court time resulting from guilty pleas can be used 
to offset any potential increase in trial time resulting from enhanced evidence 
techniques. 


How are domestic violence cases prosecuted more effectively 
in domestic violence court site? 


A key tool in prosecuting domestic violence cases is evidence other than the 
victim’s statement. In the domestic violence court model, additional evidence 
is collected by police. This can include 911 tapes, medical reports, 
photographs of injuries or the scene of the crime, interviews with family 
members and neighbours, and audio- or videotaped victim statements. 
Prosecutors can use this evidence to proceed with the cases, particularly if 
victims recant their statement or fail to attend court. 


How are victims of domestic violence better served by the domestic 
violence court program? 


Victmi/Witness Assistance Program staff contact victims soon after the police 
lay a charge and encourage them to meet with VAVAP staff and the Crown. 
Because victims are often in significant emotional distress, are confused about 
what is happening, and are intimidated by courts and the judicial system, 

V AVAP staff and language interpreters are available to help them get the 
information and assistance they need. For example, victims can be referred to 
community agencies and services that can provide help. 


8-2 






What is the purpose of the Partner Assault Response (PAR) 
programs in domestic violence courts? 


The purpose of these programs is to intervene early enough in violent 
domestic situations so that cyclical, long-term, abusive domestic relationships 
can be corrected. With the victim’s consent, Partner Assault Response 
program staff also maintain contact with the victim while the client is in the 
program to improve the victim’s safety by providing outreach and support, 
assistance with safety planning, referrals to other community agencies and 
information about the PAR program, including feedback on the offender’s 
compliance with the program. 

PAR programs are not anger management programs. Abusive partners use 
violence to exert power and control over their victims. The control can take 
many forms, including psychological, financial and physical, and the abuse 
can be both verbal and physical. Anger management programs do not address 
the purposeful exercise of power and control over victims. In addition, anger 
management programs do not contact and provide outreach to the victim, 
which is an integral part of the domestic violence court PAR programming. 

The Partner Assault Response programs are delivered by a variety of 
community-based agencies. They are funded and administered by the 
Ministry of the Attorney General. ' 


Is the specialized domestic violence court program biased 
in favour of victims? 


The specialized program does not change or impact the rights of the accused. 
The program focuses on effective prosecution through improved evidence 
gathering techniques, faster access to the justice system, increased support for 
victims, and early intervention counseling for offenders. 


8-3 












News Releases and Fact Sheets 








I 

I News Release 
^Communique 


® Ontario 


inistry of the Ministere 
itomey du Procureur 

eneral general 

January 25, 2000 


HARRIS GOVERNMENT STRENGTHENS SUPPORT TO VICTIMS BY 
DOUBLING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURTS 

TORONTO - To better support victims and hold abusers accountable, the Ontario government 
is doubling the number of domestic violence courts from 8 to 16 across the province. Services at 
the existing sites will also be enhanced. Attorney General Jim Flaherty and Minister Responsible 
for Women’s Issues Helen Johns made the announcement today at the Old City Hall courthouse 
in Toronto. The $10 million annual investment in community safety keeps a promise made in 
the government’s Blueprint. 

“People must be safe and feel safe on the streets, in their neighbourhoods and above all in their 
homes,” said the Attorney General. “The expansion of domestic violence courts makes it clear 
that our government supports victims and expects abusers to be held accountable for their 
actions. It means that more victims of domestic violence across the province will receive the 
help they need.” 

All 16 domestic violence court programs, created under the Harris government, will offer a broad 
range of coordinated services. This includes: 

• referring first-time offenders to intensive counselling through Partner Assault Response 
programs; 

• specialized investigations to obtain evidence; 

® more effective prosecution of repeat offenders and incidents involving serious injuries and; 

® support services for victims through the Victim/ Witness Assistance Program. ■ 

The eight new domestic violence courts will be located in Bame, Kitchener, Newmarket, 
Sudbury, Windsor, Etobicoke, Scarborough and College Park in Toronto. Domestic violence 
courts already exist in Brampton, Hamilton, London, North Bay, Oshawa, Ottawa, and two in 
Toronto, at Old City Hall and in North York. 


.. 2 / 


9-2 










“Doubling the number of domestic violence courts is a major step in our government’s plan to 
support victims of domestic abuse,” said Johns. “Today’s announcement builds on our 
government’s strategy to help victims throughout Ontario. Our commitment of more than $100 
million annually supports more than 40 programs to prevent violence against women.” 

"Domestic violence courts have proven to be an effective way of providing a more coordinated 
and consistent response to abuse," said Vivien Green, Coordinator, Woman Abuse Council of 
Toronto. The Council conducted a Court Watch survey in July 1999 to assess the effectiveness of 
domestic violence court sites. She added, "We believe expansion of these courts is an important 
component of better protecting abused women and their children." 

The expansion, to take place this year, builds on the success of the existing program, which is 
already the largest of its kind in Canada. It is part of a provincial strategy to improve the justice 
system’s response to domestic violence, in partnership with local communities. Other 
improvements to justice services include new guidelines for police response to domestic violence 
and an additional $8 million annually so that Crown attorneys can spend more time with victims 
and witnesses during the preparation of cases. 

“Our government is proud of the actions we have taken to bring justice and support to victims,” 
said Flaherty. 


-30- 


Contacts: 


Brendan Crawley 
Communications Branch 
(416) 326-2210 


Hal Vincent 
Minister’s Office 
(416) 326-4443 


Ce document est aussi disponible en franqais. 


9-3 





Fact Sheet 

Feuille d’information 


® Ontario 


Ministry Ministere 

of the du Procureur 

Attorney General general 


January 25, 2000 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURT EXPANSION 


Domestic violence is a serious crime and wil! not be tolerated in Ontario. That is why 
the government of Ontario is expanding what is already the largest domestic violence 
court program in Canada to address this complex social issue. 

Expansion Builds on Success of Existing Court Program 


• The number of domestic violence courts wil! be doubled from 8 to 16. $10 million 
will be spent annually on the new domestic violence courts and to improve services 
in Ontario’s eight existing domestic violence courts. 

• New domestic violence courts will be located in: 


Barrie 

Kitchener 

Newmarket 

Sudbury 

Windsor 


Toronto 

• downtown at College Park 

• Etobicoke and 

• Scarborough 


• Existing domestic violence courts are located in: 


Brampton 
Hamilton 
London 
North Bay 
Oshawa 


Ottawa 

Toronto 

• at Old City Hall and 

• North York 


Domestic Violence Courts Serve Victims Better 


In domestic violence courts, priority is given to the safety and needs of domestic assault 
victims and their children. The courts are comprised of teams of specialized personnel, 
including police, Crown attorneys, Victim/Witness Assistance Program staff, probation 
services, Partner Assault Response staff and community agencies and programs. This 
results in more effective prosecutions and better coordination of services that are ■ 
tailored to the needs of victims. 


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2 


Improved Services 

Currently, the domestic violence courts focus on one of two approaches, which will be 
"blended " so that all 16 courts provide both services. This will result in a more 
consistent and comprehensive approach to domestic violence cases. 

• Early intervention through referral to counselling: First-time offenders, who have 
caused no significant injuries, have not used weapons, and who plead guilty, are 
referred to Partner Assault Response programs. Victims are consulted about this 
arrangement and offenders must complete the counselling program to the court’s 
satisfaction. If the offender does not complete the program or re-offends during it, 
a new charge is laid. The program holds offenders accountable for their actions, 
intervenes early in the violence cycle and provides a range of supports to victims. 

o More effective prosecution: When the offender is involved in repeat offences or 
inflicts serious injury, the focus is on prosecution. Enhanced evidence-gathering 
techniques, including 911 tapes, medical reports and videotaped victim 
statements are used by specially trained police. Crown attorneys trained and 
dedicated to prosecuting domestic violence cases are assigned. Victims receive 
support and information throughout the court process from Victim/Witness 
Assistance Program staff, and cases are dealt with in a timely manner through 
the courts. 

Province-wide Initiatives 

Expansion of the domestic violence courts is part of a comprehensive strategy to 
support victims and improve the justice system’s response to domestic violence. 

Other initiatives, either underway or to begin this month, include: 

• an additional $8 million annually so that Crown attorneys have more time to meet 
with victims and witnesses to prepare cases; 

• new guidelines for police response to domestic violence, including guidelines for 
enhanced police investigation and response to domestic violence occurrences, 
victim assistance, bail, breach of court orders, criminal harassment and firearms; 

• new training for police officers; and 

• a new protocol which directs probation and parole officers to actively seek victim 
input and safety concerns for pre-sentence and pre-parole reports. This 
information will also help guide the assessment and supervision of offenders who 
are on probation, provincial parole or are serving a conditional sentence in their 
community. 


- 30 - 


Contacts: Brendan Crawley 


Hal Vincent 
Minister’s Office 
(416)326-4443 


Communications Branch 
(416)326-2210 


9-5 














Sews Release 
Communique 


Ministry of the Ministere du 

Attorney General Procureur general 

For Immediate Release 
May 25,2001 

-MORE COMMUNITIES TO BENEFIT FROM EXPANSION OF PROVINCIAL 
PROGRAMS TO SUPPORT VICTIMS AND HELP FAMILIES 


® Ontario 


TORONTO — Eight new communities will benefit from the expansion of the domestic violence 
;ourt program and seven community-based organizations have been selected to provide services 
for the government’s expanded Supervised Access Program, Attorney General David Young 
announced today. 

‘The expansion of these programs demonstrates our government’s ongoing commitment to 
increase access to services,” said Young. “These important programs are part of a range of 
initiatives to support victims and help families.” 

The domestic violence court program expansion will occur in Belleville, Kingston, 1’Orignal, 
Milton, Owen Sound, St. Catharines, Stratford, and Woodstock. 

Created in 1996 under the Hams government, the domestic violence court program offers a 
range of coordinated services tailored to the needs of victims. In a domestic violence court site, 
'.earns of specialized personnel, including police, Crown Attorneys, Victim/Witness Assistance 
Program staff, probation services. Partner Assault Response service providers and community 
agencies, work together to ensure priority is given to the safety and needs of victims of domestic 
violence and their children. 

The expansion builds on the success of the existing domestic violence court program, which is 
already the largest of its kind in Canada. It is part of the government’s comprehensive strategy 
:o help combat domestic violence. 

‘People must be safe and feel safe in their homes and in their communities,” said Young. “The 
expansion of these two important programs will ensure that more people get the assistance they 
need and deserve.” 

The Supervised Access Program was first expanded in 1999 from 14 to 36 locations. The 
oresent expansion will take place over two years. A total of 77 locations will be providing 
sendee once the expansion is complete. This exceeds the government’s promise to expand the 
number of sites to 54. 


9-6 

























I The following community-based organizations have been selected to provide Supervised Access 
services through a competitive process announced in February 2001: 

. Access for Parents and Children in Ontario - Toronto Region 
. Patricia Centre for Children and Youth - District of Kenora 
. Merrymount Children’s Centre - Elgin County 
* . Merrymount Children’s Centre - Oxford County 

. Family and Children’s Services of the County of Renfrew- Renfrew County 
. Dufferin Child and Family Services - Dufferin County 
■ . The Emily Murphy Centre - Perth County 

I Supervised Access Centres provide safe, neutral, child-focussed settings for visits and exchanges 
1 between children and their non-custodial parents or other adult relatives. This expansion will 
ensure that more families across the province have access to this important service. 


! 


-30- 


| Contacts: 

Rui Francisco Brum 



Brendan Crawley 
Communications Branch 
(416) 326-2210 


| Disponible en frangais. 


For more information visit www.attomeyoeneral.ius.gov.on.ca 


9-7 











Fact Sheet 

Feuille d’information 


® Ontario 


Ministry of the Ministere du 

Attorney General Procureur general 


May 25, 2001 

EXPANSION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURTS 

Domestic violence is a serious crime that will not be tolerated in Ontario. One of the ways the 
government of Ontano is addressing this complex social issue is by further expanding Canada’s 
largest domestic violence court program. 

.Expansion Across Ontario Builds on Success of Existing Program 

9 In 2001/02, domestic violence courts will be located in Belleville, Kingston, L’Orignal, 
Milton, Owen Sound, St. Catharines, Stratford and Woodstock.. 

• Domestic violence courts currently exist in: Barrie, Brampton, Hamilton, Kitchener, 
London, North Bay, Ottawa, Oshawa, Sudbury, Windsor and in Toronto downtown at 
College Park, Etobicoke, North York, Old City Hall and Scarborough. The domestic 
violence court program in Newmarket will be operational by the end of December 2001. 

* The expansion of domestic violence courts is a SI 0 million annual investment in the 
safety of victims. 

Domestic Violence Courts Services 

In domestic violence courts, priority is given to the safety and needs of domestic assault victims 
and their children. The program involves teams of specialized personnel, including police, 

Crown attorneys, Victim/Witness Assistance Program staff, probation sendees, offender 
counselling staff and cultural interpreters who work together, to better coordinate services that 
are tailored to the needs of victims. 

Domestic violence courts provide two approaches to domestic violence cases. 

• Early intervention and counselling: First-time offenders, who have caused no significant 
injuries, have not used weapons, and who plead guilty, are held accountable through referral 
to counselling in the Partner Assault Response program, which is a specialized domestic 
violence intervention program. The program provides an opportunity for abusers to leam 
non-abusive ways of resolving conflict. The victim is consulted about this arrangement. 
Offenders must complete the counselling program to the court’s satisfaction and as a 
condition of bail prior to sentencing. If the offender does not complete the program or re¬ 
offends during it, new charges are laid. 


9-8 









I 

* Coordinated Prosecution: When the offender is involved in repeat offences or inflicts 

[ serious injury, the focus is on prosecution. Specially trained police use enhanced evidence¬ 
gathering techniques, including 911 tapes, medical reports and videotaped victim statements. 
Crown attorneys trained in prosecuting domestic violence cases are assigned and cases move 
through the courts in a timely manner. 

» Support for Victims: Victims receive support and information throughout the court process 
from Victim/Witness Assistance Program staff and from the Partner Assault Response 
program, while the offender is involved in that program. 

| Dther Province-wide Initiatives 

[ expansion of the domestic violence courts is part of a comprehensive strategy to support victims 
md improve the justice system’s response to domestic violence. 

l Other initiatives include: 

[ <- an additional $8 million annually so that Crown attorneys have more time to meet with 
victims and witnesses to prepare cases; 

I > guidelines that came into effect January 1, 2001, for police response to domestic violence, 
including guidelines for enhanced police investigation and response to domestic violence 
occurrences, victim assistance, bail, breach of court orders, criminal harassment ana 
l firearms; 

■ ► training for police officers on the guidelines and tools to assist in identifying risk factors in 
domestic violence occurrences; and 

I» a protocol that directs probation and parole officers to actively seek victim input and safety 
concerns for pre-sentence and pre-parole reports. This information will also help guide the 
assessment and supervision of offenders who are on probation, provincial parole or are 
| serving a conditional sentence in their community. 

-30 

| 

Contacts: 

t kui Francisco Brum 
vlinister’s Office 
'416) 326-4440 


Brendan Crawley 
Communications Branch 
(416) 326-2210 


Disponible en francais. 

For more information visit www.attomeygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca 


I 


9-9 



I 

News Release 
[Communique 


® Ontario 


[ Ministry of the Ministere du 

I Attorney General Procureur general 

For Immediate Release 
September 14, 2001 

HARRIS GOVERNMENT EXPANDING 
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURTS PROVINCE-WIDE 

TORONTO — The Ontario government is creating 31 new domestic violence courts, ensuring 
province-wide access to better support victims and hold abusers accountable. Attorney General 
David Young announced today. 

I “We are continuing our efforts to ensure that victims of domestic violence, throughout the 
province, have access to the specialized support and assistance they need,” said Young. “This 
program is an essential part of fighting domestic violence and protecting those who experience 

I*” 

The three-year expansion will bring the total number of sites to 55. The new domestic violence 
court sites will be located in: Brantford, Bracebndge, Brockville, Cayuga, Chatham, Cobourg, 
Cornwall, Dryden, Fort Frances, Goderich, Gore Bay, Guelph, Haileybury, Kapuskasing, . 
Kenora, Lindsay, Napanee, Orangeville, Parry Sound, Pembroke, Perth, Peterborough, Picton, 
Sarnia, Sauit Ste. Marie, Simcoe, St. Thomas, Thunder Bay, Timmins, Walkerton and Welland. 

The Hams government introduced the specialized domestic violence court program in 1996 to 
offer victims a range of coordinated services, including specialized investigations by the police 
to obtain evidence; prosecution of repeat offenders by specialized Crown attorneys; and support 
sendees for victims through the Victim/Witness Assistance Program. 

“Domestic violence is a senous crime that demands serious action,” said Young. “In the past five 
years, Qntano has developed the largest, most comprehensive domestic violence court program 
in the country.” 

Today’s announcement launches the government’s second expansion of domestic violence courts 
this year - a $10 million annual investment. Earlier this year, the domestic violence court 
program was expanded from 16 to 24 locations to better serve communities across the province 
as part of the government’s strategy to combat domestic violence. 

-30 

Contacts: 

Rui Francisco Brum 
Minister’s Office 
(416) 326-4440 


Brendan Crawley 
Communications Branch 
(416) 326-2210 


9-10 















Fact Sheet 

Feuille d’information 


® Ontario 


Ministry of the Ministere du 

Attorney General Procureur general 


September 14, 2001 

PROVINCE-WIDE EXPANSION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURTS 

Domestic violence is a serious crime that will not be tolerated in Ontario. One of the ways the 
government of Ontario is addressing this complex social issue is by expanding the domestic 
violence court program throughout Ontario over the next three years. Ontario’s domestic 
violence court program is tire largest of its kind in Canada. 

Expansion Across Ontario 

® The province will be creating new domestic violence courts in the following 31 locations: 
Brantford, Bracebridge, Brockville, Cayuga, Chatham, Cobourg, Cornwall, Dryden, Fort 
Frances, Goderich, Gore Bay, Guelph, Plaileybury, Kapuskasing, Kenora, Lindsay, 
Napanee, Orangeville, Parry Sound, Pembroke, Perth, Peterborough, Picton, Sarnia, Sault 
Sis. Marie, Simcoe, St. Thomas, Thunder Bay, Timmins, Walkerton and Welland. 

• In May the Ontario government announced that an additional eight locations would be 
added to the existing 16. Over the next year domestic violence courts will open in 
Belleville, Kingston, L’Oiignal, Halton, Owen Sound, St. Catharines. Stratford and 
Woodstock. 

• Domestic violence courts currently exist in: Barrie, Brampton, Hamilton, Kitchener, 
London, North Bay, Ottawa, Oshawa, Sudbury, Windsor and in Toronto downtown at 
College Park, Etobicoke, North York, Old City Hall and Scarborough. The domestic 
violence court program in Newmarket will be operational by the end of December 2001. 

• The Ontario government is investing S10 million annually to support the expansion of the 
domestic violence court program. 

• By 2004, Ontario will have a total of 55 domestic violence courts. 


Domestic Violence Courts Services 

Domestic violence courts give priority to the safety and needs of domestic assault victims and 
their children. The program involves teams of specialized personnel, including police. Crown 
attorneys, Victim/Witness Assistance Program staff, probation services, offender counselling 
staff and cultural interpreters who work together to better coordinate services that are tailored to 
the needs of victims. 


9-11 








| Domestic violence courts provide two approaches to domestic violence cases. 

» Early intervention and counselling: First-time offenders, who have caused no significant 
injuries, have not used weapons, and who plead guilty, are held accountable through referral 
to counselling in the Partner Assault Response program, which is a specialized domestic 
violence intervention program. The program provides an opportunity for abusers to learn 
non-abusive ways of resolving conflict. The victim is consulted about this arrangement. 
Offenders must complete the counselling program to the court’s satisfaction and as a 
condition of bail prior to sentencing. If the offender does not complete the program or re¬ 
offends during it, new charges are laid. 

► Coordinated Prosecution: When the offender is involved in repeat offences or inflicts 
serious injury, the focus is on prosecution. Specially trained police use enhanced evidence¬ 
gathering techniques, including 911 tapes, medical reports and videotaped victim statements. 
Crown attorneys trained in prosecuting domestic violence cases are assigned and cases move 
through the courts in a timely manner. 


[ Victims receive support and information throughout the court process from Victim/Witness 
Assistance Program staff and from the Partner Assault Response program, while the offender is 
nvolved in that program. 

Ihe expansion of the domestic violence court program throughout Ontario is part of the Harris 
government’s comprehensive strategy to combat domestic violence by supporting victims and 
aolding abusers accountable for their crimes. 

-30- 

Contacts: 

R.ui Francisco Brum Brendan Crawley 

Minister’s Office Communications Branch 

(416) 326-4*40 (416) 326-2210 


Disponible en frangais. 


For more information visit www.attomeygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca 






















Section 


mum 

Contacts 

Domestic Violence Court Program 


Hane Nannarone 


Director, Domestic Violence Work Team 

Victim Services Division 
Ministry of the Attorney General 
7th Floor, 18 King Street East 
Toronto, ON M5C 1C4 

(416) 326-1780 
(416)212-1091 (fax) 
Diane.Nannarone@jus.gov.on.ca 


Phylis Camposano 


Domestic Violence Court Program Coordinator, 
Domestic Violence Work Team 

Victim Services Division 
Ministry of the Attorney General 
7th Floor, 18 King Street East 
Toronto, ON M5C 1C4 

(416) 326-0120 

(416)212- 1091 (fax) 

phylis.camposano@jus.gov.on.ca 


10-1